The ICF insist their World Championships will still go ahead ©ICF

Reports that the inaugural International Canoe Federation (ICF) Stand Up Paddling World Championships in Portugal are under threat due to a legal challenge have been rejected.

The event, due to take place in Esposende between August 30 and September 2, has been shrouded in controversy due to a dispute with the International Surfing Association (ISA) over who governs the discipline.

Italian website supnewsmag quoted a press release issued by the Portuguese Surf Federation which claimed that an appeal had been made to the country's courts against the legitimacy of the event because it had been convened without the backing of the national governing body. 

The Portuguese Surf Federation, affiliated to the ISA, appear to have removed or not published this press release on their website.

"We will fight this act of piracy and ask the Portuguese," they are quoted as saying.

"As any country, we obey the laws. 

"We've been working closely with ISA, the only one ruling body for this sport and together we'll stand against this kind of situation."

The claim has been rejected by the ICF, who insist that almost 20 countries have already entered for the event.

This includes paddlers from Algeria, France, Germany, Great Britain, France, Mozambique, Spain and the United States. 

The ISA also claim control over stand-up paddle ©ISA
The ISA also claim control over stand-up paddle ©ISA

"Entries continue to flood in, we have signed up several sponsors, and we already have media partners in place," ICF President Jose Perurena said.

"We can confirm that not only has there been no legal challenge to this event taking place, but also our strong advice is there are no grounds for any challenge to succeed.

"We also want to assure all athletes there are no restrictions on their ability to compete at our event. 

"We want what is best for the athletes, and that involves allowing them to compete at as many world-class events as possible without any ramifications."

The ICF have promised to make further announcements regarding "high-profile athletes, sponsors and event partners in the coming weeks".

The ISA insists that it has long-standing experience in the sport and has only faced interference from the ICF since trying to add the discipline onto the programme for the 2018 Summer Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires.

This is denied by the ICF, however, which claims no organisation should have a monopoly over a specific sport.